42nd Street Company (#42stc)

#SUIT Situational guide to scalable speed and agility

By on October 14, 2015

How can you gain scalable speed and agility in technology development?

Here are some situations to consider

Situation: lack of predictability and frequent project overruns

Response: most likely you are just overloaded. Visualize your work in progress, balance load to capacity and start operating a strict pull system – at all levels. Beware that your overload may be centered around a bottleneck or at least a few areas. You can well have excess capacity outside these areas – sometimes being iddle and inventing their own tasks, reverse looping back to the bottleneck-areas and making things even worse.

Ideas to get started: Check out #AgileSpark and the PMO section in #NeedForSpeed. Also read ‘The Goal’ – find it from the #MustRead section.

Situation: you often get frustrated that your organization is working more against you than with you; you have a feeling of succeeding despite of the organization, not because of it

Response: perhaps, effectively you are locked up in your own prison of inefficient internal processes etc? Create an environment where everyone has the freedom to perform and opportunity to contribute. A true environment supporting knowledge workers like yourself.

Ideas to get started: Check out #GameChangingBeliefs

Situation: do you know if you are working on the right ideas?

Response: not often easy to prove, but most likely you are working on the wrong ideas. Most ideas are bad. This is a fact, which is evident post mortem by the number of failed projects, projects, features, etc. Make your assumptions explicit and test them to hold true before going too far.

Ideas to get started: Read #LeanStartup – the most powerful business book in agile times – it applies also to BIG companies. If you have more time also check out #InnovationAsUsual – find them from #MustReads

Situation: It’s hard to find time to make changes

Response: maybe you are too busy to learn and make changes? In case, you need to change that. Who is in command? You must relentlessly bring yourself in command of your situation. Instill a culture of continuous improvement, make regular retrospectives and frequent changes at all levels. Keep doing this forever. If you got talent and are able to change it doesn’t matter where you start from!

Ideas to get started: Check out #AgileEngine.

Post script

The above is not a complete analysis of all possible responses, but play on what is frequent symptoms and frequent common causes. Fastest way to check if any of these apply to you is to try them out and validate the findings and outcome – to most companies most of the above will apply more often than not.

Often when something does not work out we realize in retrospective that the symptoms were there long before the problems became severe. Most often we also realize that someone knew and made an effort to point it out. But nothing happened … because we were too busy … because it got lost in internal stuff … because we assumed that our ideas were solid enough … because there was no time to make changes … because …

Why take such risks? Check out just some of these ideas and make yourself less vulnerable to a wide spectrum of risks. We are all exposed to them. Sadly, few are well equipped to proactively deal with them.